Thursday, February 22, 2018

Where'd you find that hunk of junk anyway?

Dragging the ol' Heap back from Copart

Brad Hayosh had been after me for a while to either fix my Jetta, or buy some wrecked something or the other.  Eventually I fell for the trap in a moment of weakness and found a reasonable looking Fiesta ST with "minor" damage.

The Fiesta came via a Copart internet auction from one of the Minnesota facilities.  We used a broker, which was basically a train wreck.  The guy charged us state sales tax and then never got us a title in our name, which is basically tax fraud.  He also tried to keep my Paypal deposit for a membership fee that was in some bullshit fine print.  I got that back via a Paypal dispute since he didn't respond to their query.  Not really impressed.

For Copart's part in the whole mess, they didn't sign the title over properly, so it was rejected multiple times by the county recorder when Andrew attempted to get it transferred.  The handwriting was illegible, and when we called their Minnesota facility, they basically refused to help us since we weren't their customer, and told us to F off.  The big point of contention was that because the signature was illegible, the state didn't know who signed it.  Copart gets power of attorney from the various insurance agencies to sell the cars, so the Copart signs over the title.  Since the name of the manager for that office was online as a contact, we just printed in their name under the signature assuming they were probably an authorized agent.  The state seemed ok with this solution and we got an Iowa salvage title in Andrew's name.  Not a big deal if you're willing to make 3 or 4 trips to try to get the title work done.

Our dad had a friend of theirs pick the car up and drag it over to their lot, and another local friend snagged it on the dolly to bring it back to Iowa.   So that part of the adventure was magic.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Cage Install Prologue

"Clean" Garage

We made the decision to install a Custom Cages kit purchased from Brian Short out at Rocky Mountain Autosports.  I'd had one previous experience with a cage kit and it's a different workflow than fabricating one from scratch, so I knew I wanted to slow down and try to really understand how to be successful with this one.

Because Custom Cages has a process to ensure you aren't modifying the kit or welding it with a coat hanger hooked to a car battery, it ends up being installed and tacked to ensure fitment, then partially removed before finish welding.

I'll try to run through some of that process with photos and hints that I figured out as I made some errors.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Fiesta ST - 1

When O'Neil and Ford put together a deal with M-Sport in the UK to ramp up an R2 cup-alike in the US, I was hopeful we'd see all sorts of new rally cars on the stages.

The M-Sport kits were priced at about $20k USD, with a base fiesta in the $15K range.  Now that the little buggers have been out for a while, they're starting to appear on salvage auctions.  With the Jetta still down from blowing the gearbox a few seasons back, and some nudges from a friend, we decided to scoop up a salvage 2014 Fiesta ST.

The 2014 Fiesta ST is the first year of the turbocharged Fiesta in the US.  The car is mostly a base Fiesta with a few tweaks for handling and to house the 1.6 GTDI and IB6 transmission.  Our build plan is to leverage what we can from the R2 experience, and the homegrown solutions that others have worked through for the past couple of season and put together a slightly more powerful version of the Jetta.

This is the car we found- in a Minnesota salvage yard.  We had to work with a broker to get the car due to restrictions on how salvage cars are sold.  The fees, both from CoPart, and the broker, add up in substantial, and when unexpected, irritating ways. More on that later.

The auction photo is taken from the good side.  The intercooler, half the bumper and left side headlight are laying in a ditch somewhere. Or under a bridge.  Possibly in a creek.

Andrew got it drug into the shop and he and Marc popped the old hood off to have a look see under the hood.  Not bad.  Except in some places it's really hard to tell what the heck you are looking at...

Going to need a bit of work!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Just like everyone else

The internet is chock full of people apologizing for not updating their blogs.

Most people have nearly 4 people and a cat that would read the blog to begin with, and only then after they're done reading comments on their favorite news site just to gauge how far society has fallen since the previous day.

I managed to get my old blown gearbox out of the car around Christmas of 2013, pulled the engine shortly thereafter with the intention of blowing through the conversion to the 02A, and getting back on stage.

Somewhere amidst all of this, I bought a new KTM 350.  It's pretty much what any rally car driving mountain biker wants in a dirt bike.  Light. Nimble. Immediate throttle response. A bit noisy. The summer weekends were spend riding trails, or going race, where I learned a new form of humiliation in the form of the 2 hour hare scramble.

In the hare scramble, beginning riders leave several minutes after the faster more experienced riders that will be lapping them the rest of the day.  For me, the lapping commences about the time I've lost feeling in one or both of my hands.  Overtaking riders have no horns, so they can either rev their engines, yell some kind of neo-Indian war cry, or just blast right by you, spraying you with gravel.

For those of you that spent your formative years learning which fork is which, this is called "Roosting".  If you are a chicken farmer, it has nothing to do with sleeping chickens, and everything to do with a spray of tiny rocks sandblasting your exposed skin.

Once I'd mastered the art of riding as fast as you can for 2 hours, a few of us headed out to try an Enduro.  Enduro is more like a rally, and depending on the format, is either similar to a TSD Rally, or a Performance Rally.  In either case, they're in the woods, through fields, and over dale.  I assume in other countries, Enduros would involve howler monkeys, but in the US, they're relatively monkey free, with the occasional fenced cow being about the only wildlife involved.

This went quite a lot better than the hare scramble, especially because we'd picked an event for beginners.  By Beginners, I mean 4 year old girls riding on the handlebars with their dads, and women riding through the woods with the 11 year old kids.  We crushed most of them.

In all this time, I think I was mostly walking past the rally car, the parts on the floor, the engine on the engine stand, and tripping over the airhose tangled up in the oil cooler lines.

The internet told me I needed to get a motorcycle trials bike, and since everything online is true, I did just that, with a mega-road trip down to Lexington, KY to pick up a pretty cherry Gas Gas 250.

A few more enduros and hare scrambles later, and I've found that it's winter.  The motorcycles are in the house resting and having run out of things I want to clean inside the house, I'm back in the garage doing some work on the engine.

2014 would have been our tenth season in rally and instead we took a vacation.  If I don't have the ambition and funding to compete, I feel at least motivated to get all the parts pushed back into a working, drivable car that can leave the garage under it's own power.

That should be easy enough, at least until the snow melts...

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

2013 - The end.

 It's several months in to 2014 and the rally team is still shaking off winter.

2013 ended at LSPR on Stage 3 in a cloud of smoke when the welded differential exploded through the bottom of the gearbox case and liberated a pile of metal and oil onto the skid plate. 

We spent the next several hours engaged in an amusing game of "get back to the service area" bumming rides from locals and volunteers, only to find that the steering column on the Van had eaten part of the keyswitch and leaving Chad Eixenberger, who was crewing for us, befuddled and stranded.

Not all was lost, though, as we wandered out to the last spectator spot on Saturday and drank beer with Dave Grenwis and his friends.  Dave races mountain bikes, too.  He's a pretty wirey fellow and I'm sure much faster on the pedal bike than myself.

It's been a lot of seasons since we've done more than a couple of events, and seems even longer than that since the car was really consistent.  Losing the good gearbox at LSPR a few years ago is proving really challenging to recover from....

Monday, July 15, 2013

Ojibwe pre-update

With the planned reboot of the Ojibwe event this year, the Bent Mettle team is planning on rolling back up the mosquito saturated northwoods and giving 'er hell.

I've replaced the lower ball joints, an upper strut bearing, and found a loose damper rod.  My hope is that the front end will be relatively rattle free and "tight".

I have a malfunctioning rally computer to investigate, as well as possibly, maybe, finally replacing the worn rear damper spherical bearings as well.

I've put all this work off until it was finally got enough to really get to sweating in the garage!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Moving web servers

Moving the website off the old Linux box that's been chugging along back in Newton for the past 7 years.  Computer was fine, but the DSL line would go on the fritz whenever the ground was too wet.

I'm having some trouble getting the gallery back in action but hope to get it cranked back up in the next few days.